Harvey Fierstein Set for THEATER TALK this Weekend
THEATER TALK favorite Harvey Fierstein returns for an all-new interview about his latest (and Tony-nominated) play, Casa Valentina - his third show (along with Newsies and Kinky Boots) currently running on Broadway.
Co-hosted by New York Post Broadway columnist Michael Riedel and Susan Haskins, the latest edition of THEATER TALK premieres in the New York metropolitan area on Friday, May 2 (2014) at 1 AM (early Saturday morning) on Thirteen/PBS, with repeats on CUNY TV* on Saturday 5/3 at 8:30 PM, Sunday 5/4 at 12:30 PM, and Monday 5/5 at 7:30 AM, 1:30 PM, and 7:30 PM.
Although Fierstein appears to be on familiar turf in the new show - men dressing up as women (a theme in Torch Song Trilogy, La Cage aux Folles, and Kinky Boots) - he explains that Casa Valentina is the story of a Catskills resort where, in the 1960s, heterosexual men, some of them married, would go to wear women's clothes to allow a hidden part of them to be revealed and freely expressed. "They were not gay," he tells the hosts. In fact, he says, there was a movement within the group to keep gay men out of it entirely.
Fierstein details the early rehearsal process, carefully worked out with director Joe Mantello, wherein the actors - who include such theatre stalwarts as John Cullum, Patrick Page, Reed Birney and Tom McGowan - were surrounded by wigs and makeup tables, and gradually encouraged to try different looks in order to "find" the particular woman each had inside of his character.
Inspired by a trove of photographs found at a street fair (which were published by powerHouse in the book, Casa Susanna) and supplemented by Fierstein's own research, Casa Valentina takes audiences to a frontier rarely broached in theater or in life, thanks to a man of the theater who continues to celebrate people in all of their diversity.
THEATER TALK is jointly produced by the not-for-profits Theater Talk Productions and CUNY TV. The program is taped in the Himan Brown TV and Radio Studios at The City University of New York (CUNY) TV in Manhattan, and is distributed to 100+ participating public television stations nationwide. THEATER TALK is made possible in part by The New York State Council on the Arts, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The TDF/TAP Plus Program, The CUNY TV Foundation and The Friends of THEATER TALK.
*CUNY TV, the City University of New York television station, is broadcast over-the-air in the New York metropolitan area on digital Ch. 25.3, and cablecast in the five boroughs of New York City on Ch. 75 (Time Warner and Cablevision/Optimum), Ch. 77 (RCN), and Ch. 30 (Verizon FiOS). The show is available online anytime at www.cuny.tv and www.theatertalk.org, and via iTunes podcasts. CUNY TV is also live-streamed on www.Aereo.com.